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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘AIPAC’

Former Israel NYC Consul Says Netanyahu ‘Loves’ Injecting Himself Into American Political Arena

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The gremlins certainly came tumbling out Monday in response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at AIPAC, and in anticipation of his speech to Congress on Tuesday.

Former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas was interviewed at length in Jerusalem and had plenty to say about the prime minister’s presence in the U.S.

Even the CNN correspondent conducting the live interview on air observed, “pretty harsh criticism coming from the former Israeli diplomat.”

The leftist diplomat served from 2000 to 2004 as Israel’s Consul General in New York City and as a political adviser to former prime minister and president Shimon Peres. He was also retained by the the far-left American Jewish organization, “J Street” as a speaker on tour in the United States in 2011.

“Despite his denial, his ‘holier than thou’ attitude, he is injecting Israel” into the partisan debate in the United States, Pinkas charged in Monday’s interview with CNN from Jerusalem.

Claiming that Netanyahu had “six years” to make his point on the Iranian nuclear threat, Pinkas said the prime minster “failed miserably” to get the job done. Now, he said, “he is injecting Israel into the American political arena… He loves doing that.”

Pinkas did say that he “genuinely believes” Netanyahu is deeply concerned about Israel’s survival in the face of Iran’s threat to annihilate the Jewish State. Among other criticisms, the former diplomat said he doubts the prime minister’s effectiveness.

“One of the problems with his approach to Iran is that he says what won’t work and why not, but he never came out with what will work,” Pinkas went on.

“He did not deliver his thoughts in a coherent manner to the president.”

Moreover, he said, Netanyahu could have made his points “at any time.” Why now? he asked.

“The timing is just wrong,” he said, adding that he believes the prime minister was looking to boost his ratings at home.

“The weird timing and concoction of this invitation has to do with elections…he could have made that speech any time…I think Mr. Netanyahu is aligning himself with the Republican party, that he is doing his buddy buddies a big favor ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.”

But Prime Minister Netanyahu said clearly in his speech to AIPAC that he regretted any misunderstanding about the intentions behind his desire to address the Congress. Netanyahu said he has “a moral obligation” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon – and this speech is part of that effort.

Pinkas responded flatly, “It’s a grave mistake to turn Israel into a partisan issue.”

Netanyahu said it was not his intention for Israel to become a partisan issue.

Pinkas told CNN he does not believe that.

Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress on Iran to Bring ‘Substance, Not Politics’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold told CNN on Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is intent on getting his message across about the danger facing Israel from Iran.

Basically, it’s the nuclear threat – not the Israeli elections or partisan issues or friction with America – that Netanyahu has come to the United States to talk about, media rumors and extraneous “other” comments notwithstanding.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told participants at the packed AIPAC convention Monday the U.S. “will not let Iran have a nuclear weapon, period.”

But it’s really not that simple, as Gold pointed out to CNN. To date, no nation has had any real control over Iranian activities, as has been patently obvious to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, as reflected in its annual reports, regardless of international inspections and agreements and understandings signed or not signed.

Israel, perhaps more than any other nation, is exquisitely aware of this, since it is Israel’s existence Iran has threatened to snuff out.

“When the prime minister speaks to Congress tomorrow, his speech will have substance no one has heard before,” Gold said, “and he will put it on the table. The political systems in both countries will discuss it. In democracies, that is not odd.”

As for the current difficulties between the United States and Israel, Gold appeared unruffled.

“Differences with allies is not new,” he said. “It happens between the U.S. and Britain… and now with Israel and the U.S.”

Despite the tensions caused by the prime minister’s decision to go ahead with his speech to Congress on Tuesday, said Gold, “We have to do it.

“Look for substance. Don’t look for politics. The substance is there.”

Netanyahu at AIPAC: ‘US-Israel Alliance is Sound’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned a packed room Monday in Washington DC that a deal between Iran and world leaders could “threaten the survival” of Israel, saying “I have a moral obligation to speak up… while there is still time.”

Netanyahu explained in his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that just as leaders of the United States worry about the security of America, so too “Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”

Israel’s top leader repeatedly emphasized that he did not intend to jeopardize the relationship between the Jewish State and the United States. That was never the issue, he said, nor does he believe it is an issue today. “Our alliance is sound,” he assured those gathered.

In fact, the prime minister opened his speech with the point, to make it clear to anyone who might have doubts, that his only goal is to make sure that Israel’s citizens are kept safe.

The prime minister said plainly, “I deeply appreciate all that President [Barack] Obama has done for Israel. I am deeply grateful … and so should you be… My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.”

The prime minister said the news of the “demise of the U.S.-Israel relationship is not just premature – they’re just wrong.”

“The last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue,” Netanyahu said. “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue, Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.”

But the prime minister made it crystal clear that Israel would defend itself in any way necessary to ensure the survival of its people. “No one makes alliances with the weak,” Netanyahu said. “We defend ourselves … today we have a voice … I plan to use that voice.”

Meanwhile, a weary-looking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded in a somewhat exasperated tone: “We will not accept a bad deal. We have said no deal is better than a bad deal. Any deal we would agree to, would make … especially Israel, safer than it is today,” he told CNN in response to Netanyahu’s speech via video hookup.

The problem, of course, is the definition of what a “bad deal” is, and how that might affect Israel’s national security.

Israel and the U.S. do indeed agree on the goal, said Netanyahu: both wish to avoid empowering Iran with the capability to build and use atomic weapons. “But we disagree about the best way” to achieve that goal, Netanyahu said.

Israeli PM Netanyahu Arrives in US to Speak at AIPAC, Congress on Iran

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived Sunday in Washington ahead of his scheduled appearances at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual convention, and subsequently before the U.S. Congress.

Netanyahu is expected to speak about the dangers of allowing Iran to achieve the ability to complete its creation of an atomic weapon.

“The White House did not want Mr. Netanyahu to give this speech,” at least three television networks said bluntly during newscasts on Sunday night. The Israeli leader was invited to speak to the Congress by House Speaker John Boehner, all news anchors noted.

Netanyahu has said he will make his case for stopping the Iranians from achieving their goal both at the AIPAC podium and again before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. The issue is critical to Israel, which faces an existential threat if the deal currently on the table is signed by Tehran and world powers led by the United States.

During his speech to Congress, Netanyahu will reportedly reveal Israel’s knowledge of the details of the agreement on the table being discussed between world powers – led by the U.S. – and Tehran. A senior official traveling with the prime minister spoke with CNN, saying, “The prime minister is going to explain what they don’t know about this agreement is that it is a bad agreement.”

Netanyahu’s speech is seen as a last-ditch attempt to make America’s lawmakers understand the danger facing not only Israel, but their own nation and the rest of the world as well, before a March 24 deadline for inking any agreement with Tehran is reached.

House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner hit back on Thursday at U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who characterized next week’s address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “destructive.”

Boehner challenged her remarks, saying that in fact, the situation was quite the opposite.

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress,” Boehner told reporters on Thursday.

“I couldn’t disagree more. The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way,” Boehner said.

The invitation by the Speaker came directly, without a first pass by the White House or the State Department, which presidential staff members have censured as a breach of protocol.

The prime minister maintains that Iran’s skyrocketing nuclear development and the pending agreement being arranged by the United States and world leaders with Tehran presents Israel with a clear existential threat. As such, Netanyahu said he cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to directly discuss the danger to Israel with America’s lawmakers.

Rice said Tuesday the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address the joint session of Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

Boehner disagreed, saying, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

The Speaker insisted that it is important for the American people to hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say about the grave threats Israel faces.

“I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there” to hear it, Boehner said.

Both Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samatha Power, are expected to address the AIPAC annual convention which begins on Sunday, and where Netanyahu is also scheduled to appear.

Obama White House Sends Susan Rice, Samantha Power to AIPAC

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Obama White House is sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy convention, it was announced Thursday.

The announcement followed by just two days an attempt by Rice to delegitimize the upcoming address by Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at next week’s special joint session of Congress.

Rice told a news briefing on Tuesday that the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

House Speaker John Boehner, who extended the invitation personally a number of months ago, disagreed and in a briefing on Thursday with news media said bluntly, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu will also appear at the annual gathering, which begins Sunday, along with other top-line leaders.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest commented as he released the announcement that the choice of administration representatives to the convention was “consistent with the kind of administration participation we’ve seen in previous AIPAC conferences.

“If it is perceived by some as an effort to demonstrate bipartisan support for the relations of the United States and Israel, that would be great. That’s the kind of investment that has characterized this administration’s management of this relationship.

“Unfortunately,” he said in what appeared to be another clear attempt to add more fuel to the flames, “that’s not how everyone has invested in this relationship the past couple of weeks.”

More than 16,000 activists are expected to attend the event – the largest number in the history of the organization – along with two thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and more than half of the Senate, at some point during the proceedings.

Among those scheduled to speak are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Time-Honored White House Diplomatic Traditions on Israel

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.

On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.

Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama’s] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.

On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .

<menacing music>

As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.

And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.

So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.

It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.

It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.

Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”

Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.

Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.

Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.

The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/time-honored-white-house-diplomatic-traditions-on-israel/2015/01/24/

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